By now, everyone has surely heard about the budget impasse. An unspecified number of college students are still waiting for their PA State Grant, myself included. It has been a quarter of the year thus far and the feud between Governor Tom Wolf and the Republican legislature is no closer to ending than it was three months ago.
Eschewing a political discussion in favor of humanity-based one, why are the residents of Pennsylvania being forced to suffer? College students not getting their refunds is one of the more mild and less important side effects of this debate.
Schools across the state are being forced to take out loans to continue teacher payrolls and provide their necessary services.
Most, if not all businesses that provide services to the elderly and disabled, are being denied access to the money they normally receive. As a result, the people most in need of assistance are refused.
The most recent update involves a potential stop-gap bill that would have provided a third of the available funds to the aforementioned entities who need it. It would have essentially allowed for four months of spending just to assist crucial services.
Wolf’s immediate response was to declare that he would veto the budget. Clever scare tactic, right?
Unfortunately, he was serious and his reasoning essentially amounted to him not getting his own way. Acting like a spoiled child, he claimed that the legislature was “poking him in the eye” and not really doing much to achieve a final budget plan.
While the latter is certainly a valid point, his reasoning is largely self-motivated. Apparently, Wolf has this absurd notion that representing the people means that the people automatically side with him.
Democracy or dictatorship? Regardless, he finds himself against 82% of the state’s business owners who are dissatisfied with the job he’s doing.
Despite conflicting ideas of the state budget, there is absolutely no reason for it to be three months late, especially with little to no updates for the average Pennsylvania citizen.
At the very least, Wolf could have demonstrated true leadership by at least approving a temporary stop-gap budget to ensure that those who rely on the government for assistance are actually capable of receiving said assistance.
It wouldn’t be fair to blame this entirely on Wolf as the legislature is still responsible for the other side of the argument, but for being the one who holds arguably the most power, Wolf’s decisions come across as childish and selfish.
Perhaps next year, discussing the budget can happen sooner rather than later and state businesses won’t find themselves devoid of necessary money. This is strictly a humanitarian issue and for once, it would be nice to see politicians actually work for the people they govern. After all, is that not the dictionary definition of the word?